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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

A few things I don’t like about VS2008

Last week I posted on some things I like about VS2008.  Here are some things that I don’t particularly like, or at least things that I wish had been updated.  Consider these feature requests for VS.NEXT (or TFS power toys) or a service pack.

  • First of all, a bug.  It has a habit of closing itself.  I’m usually in the middle of a build when this happens.  It just goes “poof”.  Sometimes more than once a day.  Sometimes it does not repeat for days.

The rest of these are really just suggestions.  The Visual Studio Team will probably just roll their eyes and say “yeah, we know” or “why didn’t you suggest this before?”  Yeah.  Better late than never?

  • While targeting older versions of .NET 2.0 is great, I wish there was read-only support for VS2005 projects without conversion.   The driver for down-level support must have been to remove barriers-to-sale for existing VS2005 customers, but read-only support would have been better.  Why?
    • So teams with a lot of projects can “convert as they go” and not need to do a wholesale conversion of everything.
    • To make it easier to maintain older versions of their product without having to keep VS2005 around.
  • The source control diff tool needs to be updated.  My major annoyances?
    • It doesn’t use the same keyboard shortcuts as Visual Studio (or Office for that matter).  Alt-F3 for Find?
    • It can’t be minimized.  It can be resized, but why not minimized?
    • I would love to be able to diff with horizontal panes.  Since the code is so often wider than the pane, I have to scroll around.  This slows down changeset code audits.
  • While I love the Excel view of TFS work items, we still cannot edit the entire item from Excel.  I really hoped this would have been added. 
  • And on the subject of TFS, there should be a quick find feature built into the IDE.  Writing a query to do a find is too many steps.  We shouldn’t have to rely on outside tools for this (e.g., TFS Quick Search which hasn’t been updated yet).

Will there be more?  Certainly.  I haven’t spent much time with the new features of the IDE.  But I’m sure there will be a lot more that I like too — I’m very happy to be using the new IDE.

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    Alan Stevens wrote @ February 6th, 2008 at 9:16 am

Robert, I talked to the VSTS source control team about the diff tool at TechEd07. They said there is no initiative to update the tool. Fortunately, it is easy to substitute a better (possibly free) tool:


    Robert W. Anderson wrote @ February 6th, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Thanks for the comment, Alan.

I’ll try the integration suggested in that link, but I don’t get the decision not to update the tool.

Out of the box, Visual Studio should provide a consistent (and good) experience to users. A very small investment could solve these problems without requiring users to stumble upon some other solution (that might be better, but not consistent).

Thanks again,

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